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Medicinal Trees: Mimosa and Serviceberry

 
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Albizia, Mimosa

Two Mimosas have been naturalized in my region, though neither grow at my elevation. Mimosa is a very important herb, so I make a point of scouting for trees during my travels throughout the summer and gathering flowers from those trees in the spring. Mimosa has the unique ability to reduce mast cells, which are the receptors for histamines in an allergic reaction. In that way, Mimosa is almost a reverse antihistamine that is more effective than most antihistamines, long term. Mimosa is also a mild narcotic, that can reduce pain and relax the body. Although the leaves and bark may be used, a tincture of the flowers is sweet smelling and tastes reminiscent of watermelon – it is not only among my favorite medicinal herbs but finds its way into the occasional cocktail!

Plants for A Future states: Medicinal use of Mimosa:

The flower heads are carminative, digestive, sedative and tonic. They are used internally in the treatment of insomnia, irritability, breathlessness and poor memory. The flowers are harvested as they open and are dried for later use. The stembark is anodyne, anthelmintic, carminative, discutient, diuretic, oxytocic, sedative, stimulant, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. It is used internally in the treatment of insomnia, irritability, boils and carbuncles. Externally, it is applied to injuries and swellings. The bark is harvested in spring or late summer and is dried for later use. A gummy extract obtained from the plant is used as a plaster for abscesses, boils etc and also as a retentive in fractures and sprains



Amelanchier, Serviceberry

Twenty six varieties of Serviceberry are used medicinally or for fruit: Amelanchier alnifolia – Saskatoon, Amelanchier alnifolia cusickii - Cusick's Serviceberry, Amelanchier alnifolia semiintegrifolia - Pacific Serviceberry, Amelanchier arborea - Downy Serviceberry, Amelanchier asiatica - Korean Juneberry, Amelanchier bartramiana, Amelanchier basalticola, Amelanchier canadensis – Juneberry, Amelanchier confuse, Amelanchier humilis, Amelanchier huroensis, Amelanchier interior, Amelanchier intermedia, Amelanchier laevis - Allegheny Shadberry, Amelanchier lamarckii - Apple Serviceberry, Amelanchier obovalis - Southern Juneberry, Amelanchier ovalis - Snowy Mespilus, Amelanchier ovalis integrifolia, Amelanchier pallida - Pale Serviceberry, Amelanchier parviflora, Amelanchier sanguinea - Roundleaf Serviceberry, Amelanchier spicata, Amelanchier stolonifera - Quebec Berry, Amelanchier utahensis - Utah Serviceberry, Amelanchier weigandii, Amelanchier x grandiflora

Of these, four grow in my region: Amelanchier arborea (Common Serviceberry), Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian Serviceberry), Amelanchier laevis (Allegheny Serviceberry), Amelanchier sanguinea (Roundleaf Serviceberry)

Although there are a couple pf varieties of Serviceberry that grow outside of North America, this is predominately New World medicine. Serviceberry was much used by Native Americans.

According to Plants for a Future:

Saskatoon was quite widely employed as a medicinal herb by the North American Indians, who used it to treat a wide range of minor complaints. It is little used in modern herbalism. An infusion of the inner bark is used as a treatment for snow-blindness. A decoction of the fruit juice is mildly laxative. It has been used in the treatment of upset stomachs, to restore the appetite in children, it is also applied externally as ear and eye drops. A decoction of the roots has been used in the treatment of colds. It has also been used as a treatment for too frequent menstruation. A decoction of the stems, combined with the stems of snowberry (Symphoricarpos spp) is diaphoretic. It has been used to induce sweating in the treatment of fevers, flu etc and also in the treatment of chest pains and lung infections. A decoction of the plant, together with bitter cherry (Prunus emarginata) has been used as a contraceptive. Other recipes involving this plant have also been used as contraceptives including a decoction of the ashes of the plant combined with the ashes of pine branches or buds. A strong decoction of the bark was taken immediately after childbirth to hasten the dropping of the placenta. It was said to help clean out and help heal the woman's insides and also to stop her menstrual periods after the birth, thus acting as a form of birth control. A tea made from the root bark (mixed with other unspecified herbs) was used as a tonic in the treatment of excessive menstrual bleeding and also to treat diarrhoea. A bath of the bark tea was used on children with worms. An infusion of the root was used to prevent miscarriage after an injury. A compound concoction of the inner bark was used as a disinfectant wash. A compound infusion of the plant (Downy Serviceberry)has been used as an anthelmintic, in the treatment of diarrhoea and as a spring tonic. An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of gonorrhoea.

Peterson Field Guides Eastern and Central Medicinal Plants tells us:

Chippewas used root bark tea with other herbs as a tonic for excessive menstrual bleeding, a female tonic and to treat diarrhea. Cherokees used in herb combinations as a digestive tonic. Bath of bark tea used on children with worms.

George Washington is said to have planted Serviceberry at Mount Vernon, but we can only assume his reason for doing so was the fruit. Overall, Serviceberry is a much-underutilized native fruit. Recent research has shown that it may have anti-viral properties that could be useful in combating such viruses as COVID-19.



This article is an excerpt from The Medicinal Trees of the American South, An Herbalist's Guide: by Judson Carroll

His New book is:



Growing Your Survival Herb Garden for Preppers, Homesteaders and Everyone Else

Read About Growing Your Survival Herb Garden for Preppers, Homesteaders and Everyone Else: http://southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/2022/04/growing-your-survival-herb-garden-for.html

Available for purchase on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09X4LYV9R



His other works include:

The Encyclopedia of Bitter Medicinal Herbs:

southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/2022/03/the-encyclopedia-of-bitter-medicina.html

Available for purchase on Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B09V3WCJM5



Christian Medicine, History and Practice:

https://southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/2022/01/christian-herbal-medicine-history-and.html

Available for purchase on Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B09P7RNCTB



Herbal Medicine for Preppers, Homesteaders and Permaculture People

southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/2021/10/herbal-medicine-for-preppers.html

Also available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HMWXL25



Look Up: The Medicinal Trees of the American South, An Herbalist's Guide

http:///www.amazon.com/dp/1005082936



The Herbs and Weeds of Fr. Johannes Künzle:

https://southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/2021/05/announcing-new-book-herbs-and-weeds-of.html



Author: Judson Carroll. Judson Carroll is an Herbalist from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

His weekly articles may be read at judsoncarroll.com

His weekly podcast may be heard at: www.spreaker.com/show/southern-appalachian-herbs

He offers free, weekly herb classes: https://rumble.com/c/c-618325



Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or condition. Nothing on this site has been evaluated or approved by the FDA. I am not a doctor. The US government does not recognize the practice of herbal medicine and their is no governing body regulating herbalists. Therefore, I'm just a guy who studies herbs. I am not offering any advice. I won't even claim that anything I write is accurate or true! I can tell you what herbs have "traditionally been used for." I can tell you my own experience and if I believe an herb helped me. I cannot, nor would I tell you to do the same. If you use any herb I, or anyone else, mentions you are treating yourself. You take full responsibility for your health. Humans are individuals and no two are identical. What works for me may not work for you. You may have an allergy, sensitivity or underlying condition that no one else shares and you don't even know about. Be careful with your health. By continuing to read my blog you agree to be responsible for yourself, do your own research, make your own choices and not to blame me for anything, ever.

 
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1) My mother loves Mimosa trees for their looks--now she'll love them even more when I send her this post!

2) In a perennial-buying frenzy at Tractor Supply last spring I grabbed a tiny Serviceberry plant, although I had no idea what it was or what to do with it. Well, now I know! ✔ Thanks!
 
Judson Carroll
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Rachel Lindsay wrote:1) My mother loves Mimosa trees for their looks--now she'll love them even more when I send her this post!

2) In a perennial-buying frenzy at Tractor Supply last spring I grabbed a tiny Serviceberry plant, although I had no idea what it was or what to do with it. Well, now I know! ✔ Thanks!



They are very pretty trees, and they smell great too!
 
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I would suggest that the first post be updated with botanical species names.

The mimosa tree widespread in the Southeast United States, albizia julibrissin, is not known for antihistamine or mast cell activity. That a different species, albizia lebbeck, which is not hardy in temperate zones.

To the world at large: please try to use use full binomial botanical names when providing information about edible and medicinal plants 😁
 
Judson Carroll
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Mark William wrote:I would suggest that the first post be updated with botanical species names.

The mimosa tree widespread in the Southeast United States, albizia julibrissin, is not known for antihistamine or mast cell activity. That a different species, albizia lebbeck, which is not hardy in temperate zones.

To the world at large: please try to use use full binomial botanical names when providing information about edible and medicinal plants 😁




Although I know of no clinical studies, I use albiza julibrissin in my allergy formula and have found it to be effective.  I would suggest that it should eb studied for this purpose.  It also has sedative/slightly narcotic properties.
 
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That is exciting! When I found this thread my partner, an herbalist, and I looked everywhere to see if we could find references for that species without luck. AJ has experience with preparations from the local trees, so I may try it as an experiment on my own histimine issues
 
Judson Carroll
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Mark William wrote:That is exciting! When I found this thread my partner, an herbalist, and I looked everywhere to see if we could find references for that species without luck. AJ has experience with preparations from the local trees, so I may try it as an experiment on my own histimine issues



I agree!  I have severe nasal and respiratory allergies - very bad allergic asthma, as well.  I found that the native mimosa where I live, the julibrissin did make a noticeable difference a a single tincture after a few weeks of regular use.   The first thing I noticed though, was it helped with pain from a pinched nerve.  When combined with stinging nettle, ragweed, mullein and thyme, I found the perfect formula for my needs.  It may be that lebbeck is stronger in this regard and would not need to be combined with other herbs.  But, as I am allergic to what grows in my area, I find that using local herbs helps me most.  THis formula was a real lifesaver during the height of the COVID epidemic, when the sourced for codonopsis from whom I usually purchased were sold out for months on end, and my allergies were compounded with the virus.  I survived it with these herbs, a few antiviral herbs and some generic mucinex.
 
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Judson, when I tincture, I use the folk method, but with the Mimosa blossoms, I'm torn between packing them in a bit tighter, to get more herbal matter in, and not packing them so tightly the alcohol can't flow. The (always pale, even after double & triple tincturing) result, even when I'm packing it a bit more, is that I'm never confident that I'm getting the potency I'm looking for. I typically go 3/4 full, using fresh herbs, topped off with vodka, doing that 2 or 3 times with the blossoms moderately packed. How would you advise me to know, when all I can smell is the alcohol? (Especially when my nose is stuffy, lol)
 
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Carla Burke wrote:Judson, when I tincture, I use the folk method, but with the Mimosa blossoms, I'm torn between packing them in a bit tighter, to get more herbal matter in, and not packing them so tightly the alcohol can't flow. The (always pale, even after double & triple tincturing) result, even when I'm packing it a bit more, is that I'm never confident that I'm getting the potency I'm looking for. I typically go 3/4 full, using fresh herbs, topped off with vodka, doing that 2 or 3 times with the blossoms moderately packed. How would you advise me to know, when all I can smell is the alcohol? (Especially when my nose is stuffy, lol)




I fill a gallon sized jar about 1/3 full of blossoms and the tender leaves at the stem tips, then pour in a half gallon of vodka.  As soon as the vodka darkens and has that wonderful mimosa scent, I begin using it.  Since I just make it for myself, I don't try to be precise.   I have also put about a  1/3 cup of mismosa blossoms in with a quart of kombucha or kefir.  This makes THE BEST kombucha and kefir!  It tastes and smells like watermelon, is very bubbly and has a kick to it!
 
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Oh, MMYYYY!!! That sounds heavenly. It also sounds like I'm making what might be an unnecessarily strong tincture, lol. I do believe I'll start adding it's use to my daily routine, tomorrow. Thank you!
 
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Carla Burke wrote:Oh, MMYYYY!!! That sounds heavenly. It also sounds like I'm making what might be an unnecessarily strong tincture, lol. I do believe I'll start adding it's use to my daily routine, tomorrow. Thank you!



Actually, that is one of the nice things about not being a clinical herbalist.... I eyeball all my measurements and only have please myself!
 
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Judson Carroll wrote:
Actually, that is one of the nice things about not being a clinical herbalist.... I eyeball all my measurements and only have please myself!



Agreed! I can increase or decrease potencies, add in things that some might balk at,, remove things that don't work for me, my family, my friends, and only do what I/we need or want, as we need or want it. I can wait for the weather to cooperate, and make soap outside, change up the herbs or fats in my salves and ointments, play with incense making, make things for gifts/ pleasure, and personalize it all. It's as much a gift to me as it is to anyone I choose to help, and lack of money never needs to be a reason to turn anyone away, because I forage as much as I can, render my own animal fats from food we will be eating, and hopefully in the next year or two, I'll even have my own supply of beeswax.
 
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I've got a Mimosa seedling growing right now. I saw one at a butterfly garden and monarchs in Florida love them. I do believe

Yes, albizia is an ingredient in TCM, which was the first thing that turned me on to it.
 
Judson Carroll
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Carla Burke wrote:

Judson Carroll wrote:
Actually, that is one of the nice things about not being a clinical herbalist.... I eyeball all my measurements and only have please myself!



Agreed! I can increase or decrease potencies, add in things that some might balk at,, remove things that don't work for me, my family, my friends, and only do what I/we need or want, as we need or want it. I can wait for the weather to cooperate, and make soap outside, change up the herbs or fats in my salves and ointments, play with incense making, make things for gifts/ pleasure, and personalize it all. It's as much a gift to me as it is to anyone I choose to help, and lack of money never needs to be a reason to turn anyone away, because I forage as much as I can, render my own animal fats from food we will be eating, and hopefully in the next year or two, I'll even have my own supply of beeswax.



I call it Kitchen Medicine - I did not coin the term, but that is what I am all about.
 
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